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Iowa wrestling seniors ‘excited’ for regular-season finale
Spencer Lee, Max Murin and Jacob Warner will wrestle final bouts in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday
IOWA CITY — Max Murin has a rather novel idea to celebrate senior day for the second-ranked Iowa wrestling team.
He’d like to sing the national anthem before Sunday’s regular-season ending dual against No. 6 Oklahoma State.
Maybe a duet with fellow senior Jacob Warner?
“It’s something I’ve been talking about for a long time,” he said with a wry smile. “I’m not a very good singer ... I’m not 100 percent sure I know all the words ... but I really feel we could put a lot of enthusiasm there.”
Maybe a trio with another senior, Spencer Lee?
“I don’t know if I like that,” Lee said with a laugh.
All fun aside, Sunday’s dual with the Cowboys — first bout is at 3:30 p.m. on BTN — will put a Carver-Hawkeye Arena wrap on the careers of Lee, Warner and Murin.
“They are loyal, they are loved, they are beloved,” Iowa Coach Tom Brands said of the three. “Their best wrestling has to be ahead of them and that’s a good way to think.”
Murin, ranked as high as sixth at 148 pounds, is a 2019 Midlands champion with a 69-26 career record. Warner has struggled of late and has fallen out of the Top 10 at 197, but is 87-24 in his career, a four-time All-American and 2022 NCAA runner-up.
Lee is the heart and soul of the class — and the program. He’s a three-time NCAA champion at 125 with a 91-5 career record. He’s 13-0 this season with 12 bonus-point wins. He has won his last 51 bouts.
“It’s been a fun journey,” Lee said. “I’m excited.”
Murin said he “really can’t put into words” his career at Iowa, and he and Warner both said being part of this program has been “awesome.”
“You could talk about them in glowing terms and the season is not over,” Brands said.
And that sums it all up for Iowa wrestling this year — and pretty much every year.
“It’s just another dual to me,” Lee said. “My career’s not over yet. I have to finish strong.”
But this is Oklahoma State, a program that has won 34 NCAA titles (Iowa has 24) and one of the Hawkeyes’ biggest rivals. This is the 56th meeting between the programs, a series OSU leads 29-24-2.
Oklahoma State doesn’t have the star-studded lineup it has had in past years — No. 2 Daton Fix at 133 is one of just two Cowboys ranked in the Top 10 — and isn’t considered a title contender this year, but the Cowboys are 14-2.
And it is, historically, Iowa’s biggest rival.
But Iowa is worried about Iowa and closing the gap on No. 1 Penn State as the regular season ends and the postseason is about to begin. The Big Ten Championships are March 4-5 in Ann Arbor, Mich.
“It seems like we’re starting to go up,” Brands said. “It’s about getting your job done and getting your hand raised the right way.”
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